Posted in Archives and Libraries, Civil War, Family History Library, Indian Wars, Mexican War, Military, National Archives, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Websites, World War 1, World War 2

Looking for military records? You are gonna like this!

military 1

Want to find your ancestor in military records? Here is an efficient way to identify all military records on FamilySearch, and to narrow your search by collection. It is then easy to search within a single collection.

On the FamilySearch home screen click “Search” and then “Records” in the dropdown menu.

FamilySearch Military 1

Do NOT enter a name to search, but instead click on “Browse All Published Collections.” Continue reading “Looking for military records? You are gonna like this!”

Posted in American State Papers, Archives and Libraries, Books, Family History Library, National Archives, Research tips, Territorial records, U.S. Serial Set

On the Trail of Territorial Records

The early U.S. Territorial Period was 1821-1845, but the eventual Territorial Period lasted until 1912, when Arizona and New Mexico were admitted as states.

Where can you find territorial records?

I would suggest searching the online catalogs for these types of repositories, using the search term “territorial papers.”

  1. State archives and libraries 
  2. National Archives Regional Branches
  3. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Do a “keyword” search for “territorial papers” in the FamilySearch online catalog.
  4. State level genealogical and historical societies
  5. University Special Collections in the state you are researching
  6. Territorial records can also be found on the county level sometimes

Here is a quick guide and links to the territorial papers available at the Family History Library:

  • State Department territorial papers, Arizona, 1864-1872, FHL film 1580035
  • State Department territorial papers: Colorado series, FHL film 1464017
  • Territorial papers, Idaho, 1863-1872 FHL film 1580038
  • Territorial papers of Montana, 1864-1872, FHL films 1602228 -9
  • State department territorial papers, Nevada, 1861-1864 FHL film 1491200
  • State department territorial papers: New Mexico, 1851-1972, FHL films 1580030-33
  • State Department territorial papers, Utah series, FHL film 491567
  • Interior Department territorial papers, Utah, 1850-1902, FHL films 1602234 -9
  • Territorial papers of Wyoming, 1868-1873, FHL film 1602230

Here are some published finding aids for territorial records:

Kvasnicka, Robert M. The Trans-Mississippi West, 1804-1912: A Guide to Federal Records for the Territorial Period, pts. I-IV (Washington, District of Columbia : National Archives and Records Administration, c1993-1996).

Chiorazzi, Michael.  Pre-Statehood Legal Materials: A Fifty-State Research Guide, including New York City and the District of Columbia,  2 volumes (New York : The Haworth Information Press, 2005).

Some other good resources are:

United States, The public statutes at large of the United States of America / by authority of Congress (Boston : Little, Brown, n.d.)

United States. Congress. House and Senate Documents and Reports, United States Congressional Serial Set  (Washington : U.S. G.P.O., n.d.).

United States. Congress, American State Papers, 38 vol (Buffalo, N. Y. : W.S. Hein, 1998)

Posted in Family History Library, Familysearch

New Updates to the Family History Library Catalog

Here is a re-post from the Family History Library blog.  Go to the blog to learn about all the new features added to the online Family History Library Catalog.  Those of you who use the catalog regularly will be pleased with what has been added back from the old version.  Here is just one example:

New Updates to the Family History Library Catalog

October 31, 2013 By Lynne L. VanWagenen

The new, online Family History Library Catalog has several features that users have been waiting for. These changes should help make it easier to use the catalog and help searches be more productive. Continue reading “New Updates to the Family History Library Catalog”

Posted in Family History Library, Familysearch, Websites

Wild West Digitized: New Mexico Records

This is fourth in a series of posts about digital databases for the Western States found on  Previous posts have covered California, Arizona, and Colorado.

FamilySearch has been digitizing the 3 million+ microfilms in the Family History Library.  Every week new records are posted, and it seems to me they are progressing at a good pace.  Eyeballing the list of collections from the United States it appears they have made vital records a priority.

Let’s take a look at what they have available for New Mexico: Continue reading “Wild West Digitized: New Mexico Records”

Posted in California, Family History Library, Familysearch, Websites

Wild West Digitized: California records

Records for the Western States are being digitized and put online at a rapid pace, and it is an exciting time to discover more about your Wild West ancestors.  Familysearch ( is leading the charge in access to free records. The content comes from over 3 million microfilms at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

I will be posting lists of records they have made available for Western States research, but check back often because each week new collections come online. Here are some great resources for California research:

California Records on as of 17 Jul 2013
California Records on as of 17 Jul 2013
California collections at as of 17 Jul 2013
California collections at as of 17 Jul 2013

A camera icon means a digital image of the actual record is available.

“Browse Images” means the collection has not been indexed yet, but it can be searched. Don’t let that scare you off.  The collections are usually organized in a way – alphabetically or chronologically – that helps you find what you are looking for.

A number in the “records” column means the collection has been indexed and is searchable through the search template.

No camera icon means there are no digital images of actual records, but you will see an abstract of most pertinent information contained in the record.

And here’s a tip for you:  Click on the column headings to sort by

1) Title

2) Number of records in the collections

3) Date the collections were updated

This is handy if you just want to know when the latest additions to the collections were made, or what is completely new.  You can also see which collections are the largest and which have recently been indexed.

One of my go-to collections for California is the California Birth Index, 1905-1995, because it provides the mother’s maiden name:

California Birth Index, 1905-1995, on, Millard Gooch entry
California Birth Index, 1905-1995, on, Millard Gooch entry

I also like the California Death Index, 1905-1939.  Did you know only has the CA Death Index, 1940-1997?  Most people don’t realize the Familysearch record goes all the way back to 1905.  It is not indexed yet, but is arranged alphabetically.  Here is what it looks like:

CA Death Index, 1905-1939, on
CA Death Index, 1905-1939, on

And Matilda Lurch is nearly as good a name as Millard Gooch, don’t you think?  Good thing they didn’t marry!

To find these records on, click on “Search“:

FS records search

And at the bottom of the page click on “United States” and then California:

FS records search 2

Stay tuned for lists of other states’ digitized records found on Familysearch.  I know I have been blogging a lot about FS recently, but there is a lot going on there I want to share with you. Ahhh, so much to learn!